A woman has saved thousands by tackling her garden makeover herself, transforming the rubbish-filled space into a pretty pastel paradise for just £450.
Having seen her friend fork out £3,000 for a similar project, Anna Orjak, 38, a naturopath from Blackpool, decided to harness the garden skills she'd learnt from her mother, to create an outdoor haven for herself and her five-year-old daughter.
"My daughter and I love pink and other bright colours," she told money-saving community LatestDeals.co.uk. "We wanted a very colourful, bright and sunny garden filled with joy and happiness.
"My mum has an amazing garden, she taught me how to look after plants and create my own space. It doesn't take a lot to have a nice garden and it doesn't have to be expensive."
The first job was clearing the rubbish that had been left by a previous tenant, which included a three-seater sofa Orjak didn’t actually notice at first.
"It was hidden in a huge bush," she says. "I don't think anybody cared about this garden for years!"
To create the pastel-hued space the mum-of-one turned to the high street and went online, picking up bargains from eBay, Groupon and other retailers.
"I found up a 17 metre square pack of lawn turf from B&Q for £110, and Ronseal fence care paint from Home Bargains in the colour Red Cedar for £5 per five litres. It was on sale and normally costs around £12, so I bought two boxes," Orjak explains.
"I got some plants from Groupon and eBay, which cost me around £50 in total. I also picked up some decorative stones from B&Q – a large 22.5kg bag of rounded pebbles is only around £10."
Some of the supplies the DIYer even managed to pick up were free, including an old pallet which Orjak painted pink and some bricks donated from a friend.
"My friend helped out with creating the decking, which saved me a couple of hundred in labour and installation costs and created a nice space for my daughter to play," she adds. "I got the decking itself from Savoy for around £100.
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"I got some new fence panels for around £100 and painted them in various colours," she continues. "I complemented the area by picking up some inexpensive outdoor plants In Lidl and bulbs in Poundland, which didn’t come to more than £20.
One of the final additions was a garden set which Orjak managed to pick up for half price from B&Q.
"Instead of paying the full price of £300 I paid £150 as I purchased it after the summer ended," she explains.
"I also bought three garden boxes In Lidl for £90 and kept all my garden equipment there."
The hardest part of the makeover, according to Orjak, was laying out the turf, which she managed with her mother's help.
"The preparation took a week as the soil was full of weeds and all sorts of rubbish," she explains.
That wasn't the only challenge the project presented.
"I didn't expect a garden could become so neglected," she explains. "There were giant spiders and huge spiky bushes – they took a lot of effort to cut down.
"The fence panels were rotten, the posts had to be fixed... all of this could have been avoided if the previous tenants had simply taken care of their garden. Instead, it was filled with random furniture and huge piles of rubbish.
"It’s a shame that people do not respect the green space they have been given," she adds.
But despite the difficulties the transformation presented, Orjak feels grateful to have been given the chance to create such a colourful outdoor area for herself and her daughter.
"I’m glad to have the opportunity to live in a house with a huge garden so I could create a space that I have always wanted," she says. "That said, I would have allowed more time for the project if I were to do it again, as I was rushing it and it made me exhausted. I wanted to make sure the garden was ready for summer, but I should have just taken my time."
Commenting on the impressive transformation Tom Church, co-founder of LatestDeals.co.uk, said: "Wow, Orjak has clearly put a lot of effort into this transformation as the before and after photos are night and day.
"It’s sad that the garden had been left in such a state by the previous tenants, but now it’s a pretty pastel paradise for both her and her daughter to enjoy."
How to lay your own garden lawn
The savings on laying down turf yourself can be huge, as Orjak has shown. If you want to do a professional job yourself, Church has shared some top tips.
Get rid of weeds first
Preparing the soil is a vital step. Ensure you use weedkiller, but not the residual type, as this can stay in the soil.
Lay the turf down quickly
It’s ideal to lay down your new turf within 24 hours of it being delivered to avoid issues such as discolouring and weakening.
Don’t step across the turf while you’re laying it, as you risk leaving foot indentations.
Don’t forget the top dressing
Spread a light mixture of sand and soil or compost along the top once you’re done and work it in with a rake or brush.
Look after it properly
Aftercare is important. Make sure to water your new turf frequently in warm weather to keep it constantly moist. Don’t over-water it though, as this could lead to shallow rooting.